Old F.D.A. guideline / THU 10-18-12 / Parisian pastry / Ulyanov Vladimir Lenin's father / PBS's Science Kid / Novelist Mary Russell

Thursday, October 18, 2012


Relative difficulty: 1977 HIT FOR THE COMMODORES

THEME: A IN THE B — a and b are switched to create zany phrases that will have you saying "world in the what?!"

Word of the Day: JANA (7D: Actress/country singer Kramer) —
Jana Rae Kramer (born December 2, 1983) is an American actress and country music singer. She is best known for her role as Alex Dupre on the television series, One Tree Hill. Kramer began a country music career in 2010 with the single "Why Ya Wanna", from her self-titled debut album for Elektra Records. (wikipedia)

• • •

me again. filling in for sexy rexy, who apparently had some kind of canal... in his mouth? not entirely clear on which one, but it sounds pretty bad. get well soon, rex.

here we have a fairly ordinary theme elevated to brilliance by snappy cluing and wide-open corners. look at those @*&#ing corners!!! great fill, too, if you're willing to overlook a few USRDAs and SSTs and ETHs and so forth.

Theme answers:
  • SADDLE IN THE BACK (17A: Bit of riding gear on a truck's flatbed?)
  • HOLE IN THE ACE (28A: Evidence of some marksmanship?)
  • DARK IN THE SHOT (37A: Lighting director's woe?)
  • HAY IN THE ROLL (45A: Baking hazard at a manger?)
  • GRASS IN THE SNAKE (59A: Diagnosis for a stoned viper?)
very smooth solve with only one major snag: plunked down ANYHOW instead of ANYHOO at 1A ("Changing the subject..."), which had me struggling to think of a WN- word before i saw the titular pushkin character, eupene ONEPIN.

Bullets (aka i'm too lazy to write more, so i'm just going to enable your youtube habit):
  • 7A: JOE PESCI (Oscar winner who appeared in a Snickers ad) —

  • 32A: ENIAC ("Giant Brain" that debuted in 1946) — also, backwards, actor Michael

  • 22D: PONDS (Skin care brand)

  • 35D: BOTOX (Crow's-feet treatment) —

  • 49D: EDNA ("J. ___," 2011 film) — if memory serves.
  • 51D: CRABS (Beefs) — there's gotta be a joke here but... i got nothin'.
  • wish you were here,
    erik agard, pun-isher of CrossWorld


Clark 12:07 AM  

I got the HOLE IN THE ACE first. I wanted to hate this theme idea. But it is such a groaner I found myself laughing out loud.

Alias Crabs Mutter, a happy day to you today (as in this crossword day).

I defend my Ph.D. dissertation this coming afternoon. Wish me luck.

Evan 12:56 AM  

Good luck, @Clark. I get to do the same in....who knows how many years.

This is one of those puzzles for our inner adolescent to giggle and titter. Allow me: "Roll in the hay," "That's what SHE said," TUSH, SNAKE, LOO (for the Brits), and CRABS all in the same grid? HAREMS may be a little old-fashioned, but somewhere out there, some old sultan is giggling with prepubescent glee.

Tittering over.

Oh, and HOLE IN THE FOX. That's what I had at first. I have no idea what that says about my subconscious. Good thing they stuck ASPCA in there, you know, for us morbid creeps who wrote that answer down like it was no problem, who shot first and didn't ask questions later -- questions like, why would the New York Times crossword puzzle want us to shoot that poor defenseless animal? (I guess it would have been "The hole is in the fox" to be more accurate.)

Anonymous 1:06 AM  

Help smart people.

WAPO crossword has answer "rep" for clue 10-percenter. Don't get it.


Anonymous 1:17 AM  

Re: rep
10% was common commission rate for agents. Less true today. I think that sports agents get less, literary agents ~15%; varies according to specific field.

(Sounds like a pretty poor clue for the entry.)

chefwen 2:27 AM  

@Clark - Best of luck. Like you, I got it with HOLE IN THE ACE, the rest went down like a ton of bricks. Super easy, except for 7D JANA, obtained only with crosses and 38D ILYA - HTG.

Easiest Thursday in quite a while.

Favorite answer was 59A, we don't have snakes here, but we certainly have a lot of the substance that the snake ingested.

Capcha - temisu, very close to what @Rube and I had for dessert yesterday. YUM!

Eejit 2:40 AM  

What, no YouTube for XTC? Not sure how to embed one, but here's Making Plans For Nigel.


Michael Hanko 3:57 AM  

Wow — that must have been my fastest Thursday time ever, as it seems to have been for our esteemed guest blogger and other solvers.

I was tickled to see ANYHOO as the 1 Across; nice, kicky way to start the puzzle. And then JOEPESCI. Seemed promising....

Sadly, my excitement died as I encountered all the less than stellar 3s: ADS, NEA, YTD, ETH, ATL, KEL, ERS, and the rest. The theme entries seem to have forced the constructor into a lot of compromises in the fill. Not sure if the quality of the wordplay merited this trade-off. Also didn't like the inconsistency of only BACK changing part of speech between original and wacky phrase.

Now if you'll indulge me with an off-topic bit of self-promotion, I want to invite interested crossword lovers to check out a timely new puzzle, entitled  "Debatable Strategy: Carry a Big Shtick" by George Barany and me that was written to coincide with Tuesday's Presidential debate. When you visit the site below, you will find a dozen or so puzzles constructed by Prof. Barany and his team of like-minded progressives, covering political themes on everything from gaffes to gay rights. Our new puzzle is at the top of the list:  http://tinyurl.com/gbpolitics

Hope you enjoy it!

Dear @Rex, I hope you are feeling better soon or are at least able to stay home and keep your MOUTHINTHEDOWN until you are pain-free.

Anyhoo Cacti Mutters 4:26 AM  

you have to love this puzzle's theme!!!!
the fill, well...ummmm I dunno know.
I got stuck in an OILSpill, which wasn't too SLICK.
ANYHOO, took me forever to slide out of that.

MOUTHINTHEDOWN! Good one, Hanko!

DORIA bleed over from Monday as well...
Lots of ANDRE, ANDREA DORIA, ANDREOTTI this week, and why not? As it's my birthweek, yes, thank you, @Clark...namewise, SO close!
(GOODLUCK!!! Never had to defend a dissertation, tho I have had to defend my last ten puzzles! I should get a PhD* for That!
*Partial-Hell Defense.)

Gun to my head I would have spelled AMBIaNCE with an A...

ANYHOO, BACK ON THE PAT ("Nixon twenty minutes after making love?") to Sam Donaldson!

Mary Rose 6:30 AM  

So glad to see one of my favorite authors, Mary Doria Russell used to clue DORIA, instead of that ill-fated ocean liner. For a good read, check out The Sparrow and its sequel Children of God.

Good puzzle. Fun. Easy for Thursday.

Milford 7:09 AM  

Easy, peasy Thursday. Enjoyed the wordplay, especially HAY IN THE ROLL. Or is it ZE ROLL, à la Inga?

Had OILSpill before OILSLICK, and thought ILYA/LOO was a bit of a Natick. Like @acme, I had AMBIaNCE first and really thought that looked correct.

Lots of initials here, maybe a dozen or so.

We have been watching past seasons of Breaking Bad, and last night I literally wrote in METH while Walter was cooking in the RV.

Fun puzzle, definitely not an ass in the pain. Tee hee.

Rob C 7:51 AM  

Nice art of the state puzzle. Liked JOE PESCI, ANYHOO, HIT ON, BOTOX. Shorter fill sseemed a bit strained in certain areas, but consider the density of the theme - 67 theme squares. Worth the price in my book. All in all, very enjoyable.

There was a Sunday puzzle in 2006 with a similar theme - only repeat answer was HAY IN THE ROLL which was clued as Sandwich for a horse.

John V 7:54 AM  

Liked the the theme, befitting of the new, non-rebus Thursday idiom. Some clunky fill here and there, as noted, but okay in service of the puzzle.

Quite easy for a Thursday, especially the NW. ONEPIN was a great cross to nail down ANYHOO.

Aha moment was seeing the INTHE center in 17A, so wrote that in for the other theme answers and the rest fell.

SW crossing of DORIA and EDGAR gave a pause, but all's okay. Nice puzzle, Sam; thanks.

Pretty easy week so far. Bracing for a killer Friday; you just know its coming.

loren muse smith 7:59 AM  

Yep – easy, easy Thursday for me. Loved it despite the abb workout. Great theme! And some nice crosses:


Terrific clue for SPELLS! I was also certain that OIL SLICK was going to be some kind of “flick.”

A “beef” – for me, ANYHOO doesn’t indicate a true change in subject but rather “back to what I was saying before. . .” A kind of “revenons à nos moutons.”

@Michael Hanko – good catch on the part of speech change. Your comment derailed my past hour, thinking about the word BACK. I guess it’s one of those that can be an adjective, noun, verb, and adverb. Like fast. Cool.

@Clark – good luck on your ORALS (hey, it’s been in some puzzle somewhere recently).

@Erik – thanks for the write-up.

@Rex – enjoy the OPIATES.

Z 8:07 AM  

Just not feeling it this morning. 189 letters in the grid. 25 of them are consumed by that sparkling phrase IN THE.

Also, DARK SHOT? I couldn't figure out ETHER because DARK SPOT made more sense to me. SADDLE BACK, HOLE ACE, HAY ROLL, GRASS SNAKE - all actual things one could touch, DARK SHOT seems more like a descriptor of something else (I messed up my F-stop and now my pictures are one DARK SHOT after another). Of course, the same can be said of DARK SPOT.

ANYHOO - Not my cuppa JOE PESCI this morning.

joho 8:16 AM  

Loved the theme!!! Got it at HOLEINTHEACE and gleefully went forward from there. Thank you, Samuel A. Donaldson for a most amusing solve.

Happy Birthday, @Andrea!

Good luck, @Clark!

Only writeover was CarpS before CRABS.

PARKINTHEWALK (Position a car illegally?)

joho 8:40 AM  

Forgot to mention that I liked both PETIT four and TARTE in the grid.

dk 8:56 AM  

@Clark. I trust you will have worked the room prior to the OD. Everyone wants you to do well. Expect at least one arcane DARKINTHESHOT as your committee keeps you humble. Mine was an obscure reference to social learning theory that I first thought was so stupid and now know was a great clue. In short, go with the flow.

MUTTER is what I did throughout this puzzle. I side with Z: Not my cuppa.

🐍🐍 (two grass snakes)

May we please get some puzzles with interesting fill?

Andrea: 🎂🎂🎂🎂 You take the cake.

John V 9:22 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
John V 9:29 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
jackj 9:30 AM  

Sam Donaldson is the official reviewer of CrosSynergy puzzles at Amy Reynaldo’s Crossword Fiend blog and he clearly is as adept at constructing them as he is at reviewing them.

It didn’t take me long to find a favorite clue in today’s puzzle. Five down, “Film about the sea?” for OILSLICK was right there waiting for me and thus began a pleasant stroll through Sam’s clever phrase-rejiggering theme.

SADDLEINTHEBACK was the first theme clue and proved to be all that was needed to reveal the gimmick but Sam then provided four more of them with HAYINTHEROLL earning honors for best theme clue and, then, “Money for a ride?” for AUTOLOAN getting the nod for best non-themer.

A lot of attention seems to have been paid to the fill, making the solver the big winner with the likes of ANYHOO, MUTTER, TUSH, BOTOX, XTC, HIT ON and INKED, all giving us some special contemporary seasoning.

(Was sorry to see the puzzle cheapened by the unnecessary use of METH lab (easily made into SETH and SCI) and the joking clue about “chest pumping” for ERS, able to be painlessly reclued in a more thoughtful way).

Also, some of the compromises needed to fill out the grid were less than stellar, USRDA being my least favorite, followed closely by KEL, HADA, JANA, ILYA, SHE, ETC, ETH, SST, TLC, UAE and DORIA (which was nice in that it avoided ANDREA and bad in that it relied on the little known Mary Russell).

No matter the nits, it was good stuff from Sam!

(And would have been even more appreciated if it had run on a Tuesday).

John V 9:30 AM  

BUSH IN THE TWO: Dubya's last term?

Three and out.

jberg 9:37 AM  

Feeling really stupid - I figured out LOO (after trying unO), but for some reason didn't write down the L, so I had IuYA for Lenin's father. The reason that's really stupid is that V.I. Lenin was Vladimir Ilyanovich, and Ilyanovich is a patronymic - so I finished with an error that should have been a gimme.

Nice fun puzzle otherwise. Is the constructor the same guy who used to shout questions at Reagan as he headed for his helicopter, or was that too long ago?

Carola 9:56 AM  

Funny! Progress at first was square by square with "What's going on" question marks hanging over my head until I got down to the HOLE IN THE ACE. The HAY IN THE ROLL mishap and the stoned SNAKE were my favorites

For those crow's feet, I liked the old-fashioned POND'S cremes paired with today's BOTOX. If neither of those avails, as a last resort (bottom corner), you could MUTTER SPELLS.

@loren - PETIT/STILT - Awesome! I also liked how DARK IN THE SHOT crosses NOIR and also CASE, because there's often a detective working on one. Agree with you about ANYHOO.

@Mary Rose - Thanks for the book recommendations - I'm always looking for something new.

@Clark - Stick to your guns and stare them down! Good luck and may the Force be with you!

orangeblossomspecial 10:21 AM  

A couple of the theme answers are reversals of songs:

Gene Autry's 17A "BACK IN THE SADDLE again".

George Strait did a modern version of 28A "ACE IN THE HOLE".

John V 10:41 AM  

@dk re: fill. I may be missing something, but the pattern I'm seeing lately is that good theme REALLY trumps fill quality. I mean, looking today at the NE corner we have a cross of two proper names, and ELBA and ETH. SE corner brings us ATL and KEL; NW? NEA, YTD. SW? INT, ATL. All gettable especially on a Thursday, but I think we're seeing more of this sort of thing of late. I'm okay with this in a themed puzzle, less so in a themeless, as the fill is of course everything.

9:22 AM

Susan McConnell 11:04 AM  

Super fun Thursday. I knew from ANYHOO that it would be a goodie. I love that clip from "The Trip"... It was by far the best scene in the movie.

@acm, I'll be laughing at BACK ON THE PAT all day!
@Milford, Walter white immediately came to mind when I entered METH. Enjoy catching up...I'll be so sad when it ends next year.

mac 11:24 AM  

Very nice theme! I too had oil spill for 5D and figured the theme (and filled in "in the" where possible) at Hole in the Ace.

My least favorite fill was USRDA, a five letter acronym!

Have a great birthday, Andrea!

@Clark: good luck this afternoon.

jae 11:25 AM  

To echo @lms, yep, easy. I sorta agree with John V. on theme trumps fill as long as the fill isn't uniformly awful, which wasn't the case here. So, I liked this one and liked how the theme answers got progressively funnier.

And good luck Clark (just remember you know this stuff better than they do so you are pretty much in teaching mode)

Happy B-week Andrea.

Nice one Sam!

mac 11:26 AM  

Love "Mouth in the Down"! Feel better soon, Rex.

Sparky 11:36 AM  

Had the GRASS on the right at first. When I figured where it belonged it all fell into place. Sought out INTHEs to fit. Liked AUTOLOAN. Enjoyed this. I am content with less goofy Thursdays.

Bought root veggies yesterday; Will follow instructions today.

Best of luck @Clark. Happy Birthday @ACME. Hope you mend soon @Rex. Gin beats Codine.

Sandy K 11:36 AM  

Enjoyed the theme- got it at HOLE IN THE ACE, and was able to SPEED UP from there.

Glad to say I had no 'blank in the fill' after that!

Carola 11:45 AM  

Classic DARK IN THE SHOT by NOIR master Jaques Tourneur (trailer for Out of the Past, with Robert Mitchum, 1947).

Sandy 11:48 AM  

thank you Erik for taking over. Poor Rex was miserable last night, the vicodin helped a bit, but a double root canal pushed him past his blogging limits.
It is nice to know there's a community out there willing to step in and keep this going. Thanks also to Puzzlegirl for making it happen.

syndy 12:06 PM  

I got the theme at SADDLE IN THE BACK but I understand why others did not-It is a little gimpy!It may be the way it's clued.Why a pickup truck? The rest worked better for me. also the clue for ETHER??Knockout number? I don't understand the number? but I loved ANYHOO ONEPIN SPELLS.anyhoo goodluck @Clark! feel better,boss!

Anonymous 12:12 PM  


Knockout number- think of becoming numb when you're knocked out.

ETHER= number (silent b)

Anonymous 12:14 PM  

Why Tiger's wife divorced him?

Woods in the babe

efrex 12:31 PM  

Wednesday-level theme + Friday-level cluing = reasonable Thursday puzzle.

GRASSINTHESNAKE is the first "wacky" answer in a while that made me laugh audibly. Lost a lot of time in the NW due to having OILSPILL and ANYHOW before OILSLICK and ANYHOO.

Only know from XTC thanks to the They Might Be Giants's "XTC vs. Adam Ant" (c'mon, why isn't TMBG clued more often in the puzzle? :) )

Much obliged, Mr. Donaldson.

Anonymous 1:42 PM  

Thanks Anon for the rep answer

Acme 1:59 PM  

Maybe MMLA could be the new LOL! ;)
Loving that this puzzle is inspiring everyone to come up with more reversals!
@Sandy K
"No blank in the fill"! MMLA!
Thanks for bday wishes, all...now to go out on this gorgeous day!
Hope it was easier than having a root canal!
Get well soon, @Rex!!!

ANON B 2:25 PM  

@Erik Agard

I don't understand 49D:J.EDNA
when it's J.Edgar

Sandy K 2:43 PM  


Happy birthday to you!

Always look forward to your witty and positive take on the puzzles!

Thanks for teaching me how to parse!

You're a 'Diamond in the rough'...
no reversal or MMLA intended.

Bird 3:13 PM  

Sorry Mr. Donaldson, but I just did not like this puzzle. The cluing felt awkward and difficult, even for a Thursday. The theme did nothing for me and there’s no zip in the answers. They’re not even whacky.

I like TLC crossing XTC; that intersection is very nice.
I liked 1A evolving from ANYWAY to ANYHOW to ANYHOO. Hey – that could be a word ladder or ANY theme. ANYbody up for it?

HAY IN THE ROLL reminds me of Young Frankenstein, one of my favorite movies.

@Clark – Good Luck!

@Evan and others – HOLE IN THE FOX, etc. is much better. Got zip and it’s whacky.

@Andrea – Happy Birthday!


quilter1 3:17 PM  

@AnonB 2:25
I think it is a joke referring to the rumor that J. Edgar was a cross-dresser and to Dame Edna, a cross-dresser. I am a little ashamed to know this.
Oh, and what everyone have raved about I second that emotion.

sanfranman59 3:17 PM  

Midday report of relative difficulty (see my 8/1/2009 post for an explanation of my method):

All solvers (median solve time, average for day of week, ratio, percentile, rating)

Thu 13:55, 18:48, 0.74, 9%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Thu 7:57, 9:22, 0.85, 25%, Easy-Medium

long suffering boring Sunday puzzle mets fan 3:25 PM  

too easy for a Thursday, but thought the clue for ONEPIN was superb

don't usually get a chance to post here, so here goes:

Will, please, please give us something better on Sunday -- week after week of wacky phrases and juxtaposed letters. You must have something good on your desk -- something like a zodiac puzzle, or an international flag puzzle, or a bowling alley layout puzzle, or some tricky rebus -- something, anything thats got some spice to it

thanks for allowing me to moan

long suffering mets fan 3:43 PM  

Happy Birthday, Acme!
I too spelled it AMBIaNCE -- Back on the Pat is hysterical, although it presents a gruesome image in ones head

Anon 12:14 -- Bravo standing ovation for Woods in the babe

@milford -- Breaking Bad is a phenomenal show, if you haven't seen it yet, check it out

btw -- per NFL rules, football agents are only allowed a 3% maximum fee

ANON B 4:45 PM  


I don't think it was a joke.
I think it was a mistake.It was
in the list of BULLETS all of
which were spelled correctly.
But then, you people are too
cute for me

Anonymous 6:37 PM  

Clark, I hope it went well and that you are too busy partying to come bck here to read this. By the time my committee got through with me wasn't sure of anything, not even my own name. I hope you had kinder folks! But I did pass.

As for the puzzle, I enjoy any that don't require google, and this one didn't.

Jlb.phd 75

Debbie Downer 6:41 PM  

That's what SHE said?

Kind of offensive to women. Come on, Will/Sam, I'm trying to eat my breakfast here!

chefwen 7:04 PM  

@Andrea - Happy Birthweek, I can usually drag mine out and enjoy Birthmonth, it's worth a try!!!

Feel better Rex, we miss you.

BlogSpotRemover (!) or (?) 7:47 PM  

A puzzle with XTC in it.....I couldn't possibly ask for anything more, except I got it. Looking up just who the heck JK the singer was, I learnt she went to my high school! Never heard of her til now.

BlogSpotRemover (!) or (?) 7:47 PM  

sorry to C R A B (that one is ridiculous, no? How many times have you ever said "OK, tell me what each of your crabs are...."? Beefs works, but I don't think C R A B S does. Diminish? I had A B A T E S, which works far better, I think. I've actually never heard of the correct answer before today. And, though too long, a far more common word for this action begins with D E (if you know what I mean). For "kind of licence," I looked, saw P to start and T to end, and almost immediately entered P E R M I T, which sort of ruined all my NE real estate for a long long time. Anyone else have trouble there?

sanfranman59 10:04 PM  

This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 8/1/2009 post for an explanation. In a nutshell, the higher the ratio, the higher this week's median solve time is relative to the average for the corresponding day of the week.

All solvers (this week's median solve time, average for day of week, ratio, percentile, rating)

Mon 6:00, 6:47, 0.89, 6%, Easy
Tue 11:33, 8:58, 1.29, 98%, Challenging (5th highest median solve time of 173 Tuesdays)
Wed 12:14, 11:50, 1.03, 62%, Medium-Challenging
Thu 13:57, 18:48, 0.74, 11%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:40, 3:41, 1.00, 53%, Medium
Tue 5:33, 4:40, 1.19, 92%, Challenging
Wed 6:37, 5:57, 1.11, 81%, Challenging
Thu 7:41, 9:22, 0.82, 21%, Easy-Medium

Waxy in Montreal 9:53 AM  

From syndiland - @John V's comment on the puzzle 5 weeks ago very appropriate today: HAND IN THE BIRD.

Was Oct. 18 actually a Thursday? (Maybe can get J.EDGAR on the CASE.)

Spacecraft 1:37 PM  

From the land down syndy: Happy bird-day, all! Was there a clue for 64d in your paper? There wasn't in mine. Not that ERS even deserves one...

So, you're saying that this Samuel Donaldson is THE Sam Donaldson, of Washington correspondent fame? Well, why not? Gotta be good with words, right? Not too bad, Sam, but boy, I bet you winced when you had to let ANYHOO in. C'mon, man.

Talk about pithy crosses: how about the central one? HITON with DARKINTHESHOT. Guess it's easy to HITON if you slip some "DARK" (roofie) into her SHOTglass. Eww: disclaimer: I do not advocate this; I just watch too many crime shows.

Another one: HAYINTHEROLL crossing TUSH. Sam, you naughty boy! Careful you don't get 51d!

Good, easy-medium puzzle. Working left to right, I had the top three theme beginners--SADDLE, HOLE, DARK--and still was unsure how to proceed, not having the "trick" yet. But after the inimitable JOEPESCI laid out the NE for me, it was a cinch.

Solving in Seattle 3:25 PM  

@Spacecraft, the clue for 64D is "Where you might see a lot of chest pumping, for short?"

@Waxy, nice one with HAND IN THE BIRD on turkey day.

Enjoyed this CW and caught the theme with 59A. Only writeover was 52A BAn before BAR.

Be thankful.

DMGrandma 4:14 PM  

Happy Thanksgiving! Everything is ready- bird, yams, potatoes, persimmon salad, pumpkin pie. Now just have to wait for the the family to arrive. So, time to do the puzzle and visit Syndiland. Only hold up for me was not knowing JANA and taking too much time to get AUTOLOAN as I had EsT where ETH belonged. But it all worked out. Hope your holiday goes as well as ours.

Dirigonzo 6:09 PM  

WPP and I did this post-turkey dinner and our solve was like that of many others who got the theme at HOLEINTHEACE and breezed through the rest ofthe grid. Didn't understand ETHER as a "number" until I came here.

This puzzle appeared during ACM's birthday week and it reappeared 5 weeks later during my birthday week, so I guess we share a birthday week in a syndi-synchronicity kind of way.

Anonyrat 8:05 AM  

Thought this was pretty easy, until I came here and realized that I once again got F'ed (Frenched) at 20A - had ToRTE (apparently I was the only one?). I second the call in recent comments to the effect that, can we just ban the F'ing French from the puzzles. Seriously. It's not the "Paris Times" puzzle. If you have to include it, at least cross it with English words, not some other foreign thing (like Italian islands, for example). Did like the theme answers, though, especially 59A.
@ Anyhoo Cacti Mutters 4:26 AM - Your comment reminds of one my dad's (who has a PhD) favorite jokes: What do B.S., M.S., and PhD stand for? Bull Shit, More Shit, and Piled Higher and Deeper.
@ loren muse smith 7:59 AM and Sandy 11:48 AM - Your dentists give you opiates after a root canal?!! My dentists told me to just take a Tylenol. And that was after I asked. I was surprised they didn't just tell me to bite on a bullet or chew on a sock.
@ Anonymous 12:14 PM - ROFLMFAO.
@ efrex 12:31 PM - TMBG isn't clued more often in the puzzle because they were lame and annoying.

Anonymous 9:09 AM  

Hapy Black Friday to you syndisolvers who didn't get to this yesterday.

I just checked in to see what the completed grid looked like, as I was able to solve this puppy entirely in my head. Did that once before with a Monday or Tuesday puzzle, but these answers were coming so easily to me right off the bat that I figured I may as well see how far I could get.

Working top to bottom (which is rarely how I do it) I had the top 3/4 solved by the time I left Mom's place and finished it off this morning.

Had I used a pen I might have had one or two writeovers (Anyway, Anyhow, anyhoo), but everything is left nice and clean when you solve in your head.

And yes, there should have been an XTC video.

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